Cases, cables, PCI-E USB-C cards, nifty adapters, Gloo chargers and so much more this month in our reviews roundup!
Catalyst Apple Device cases
Are you one of those die-hard Apple fans? Do you queue up for the latest handset and strut around the streets with AirPods dangling from your ears like leaking brain matter while faux casually checking your Apple Watch, deluded that anyone with any self-respect gives a shit? Good for you, everyone needs something to live for.
Well, today I am not going to lambast the recent failures of a once great and innovative company or further ridicule the morons that follow them like sheep (well maybe just a bit), I am going to look at some seriously impressive Apple device protection from Catalyst.
I’m a fan of a good case, not the yellow tainted, transparent, Hello Kitty branded crap from the street market but a really well designed, attractive case that you don’t mind carrying around. Now most phones look pretty much identical you might as well make a statement with a stylish case that protects your device and your precious data. Catalyst focuses exclusively on Apple products but really look and feel the business and I kind of hope they broaden out to Android devices soon as they are clearly quality products.I'm a fan of a good case, not the yellow tainted, transparent, Hello Kitty branded crap from the street market but a really well designed, attractive case that you don't mind carrying around Click To Tweet
Costing £999 here in the UK the latest (greatest?) iPhone X is worth protecting, so you should take a look at the two cases Catalyst offers. The $39.99 Impact Protection Case offers a grippy rubber bumper, lanyard attachment, rotating mute switch and clear case back to show off your iPhone. This design has an angular modern form and added impact protection from a nifty truss cushioning system and proprietary rubber polymer blend that provides drop protection up to 3m (9.9ft). Catalyst’s $89.99 Waterproof Case looks almost identical and gives you 33ft (10m) of waterproof protection but a lower impact protection of 6.6ft (2m).
If you love the fruity brand enough to have spent up to £749 on a Series 3 Apple Watch it would be wise to consider Catalyst’s Impact Protection Case that retails at $39.99, it can’t possibly make you look worse than you already do and if you fall over after too many imported lagers your Watch might survive the experience.Catalyst's Impact Protection Case retails at $39.99, it can't possibly make you look worse than you already do and if you fall over after too many imported largers your Apple Watch might survive the experience Click To Tweet
Augment it further with a $39.99 Sports Band so you look a proper tool jogging round central London while checking out your reflection in passing shop windows.Augment your Apple Watch further with a $39.99 Sports Band so you look a proper tool jogging round central London while checking out your reflection in passing shop windows Click To Tweet Now most phones look pretty much identical you might as well make a statement with a stylish case that protects your device and your precious data Click To Tweet
What self-respecting Apple fanboy doesn’t love their AirPods enough to protect them from the spittle of passing critics, salty body fluids or carelessly spilt Chardonnay? So costing a reasonable $24.99 the Waterproof AirPod Case is a must! You can even hang it from your rucksack, satchel strap or belt loop to prompt conversation with your AirHead iFriends! So Useful.
To be honest I didn’t know there was such a thing as an Apple Pencil, I seem to remember Steve Jobs deriding styluses in favour of well-designed touchscreen apps, but rolling in his grave or not, I’m sure Steve would endorse the protection of your Apple products, so if you like to carry your Pencil around, in case you need to work something out with it (Constipated mathematician anyone?), the $21.99 Catalyst Apple Pencil Carry Case should keep it safe.To be honest I didn't know there was such a thing as an Apple Pencil, I seem to remember Steve Jobs deriding styluses in favour of well-designed touchscreen apps Click To Tweet
If Catalyst made a case for my Samsung Galaxy S9+, I would buy it in a heartbeat Click To Tweet
However, if your fingers slip while working out a particularly sticky problem the Apple Pencil Grip Case will ensure you maintain a firm grasp on your pointless device if not on your pointless life. Apologies for the vitriol leaking through this review but rest assured Catalyst’s well made & attractive range of protective cases are not the target and even if they were, they are sturdy enough to shed said vitriol like water from a fucks dack. If they made a case for my Samsung Galaxy S9+, I would buy it in a heartbeat.
Oculus Go VR Headset
Once I got it up and running on my Wi-Fi the brand new Oculus Go was a real surprise. Every new VR headset from the big companies takes us a small step closer to enjoying the true possibilities of VR but I have become a bit jaded by the slow progress. Each baby step forwards a new device takes feels so small and iterative it leaves me feeling like I am wading through mud to get to the future of VR. The Oculus Go, however, took a solid and pleasing stride ahead of the rest, not a jump or a leap but enough to make a real difference in how we access and consume VR. Read the full review here.Once I got it up and running on my Wi-Fi the brand new Oculus Go was a real surprise Click To Tweet
Preview – Honor 10
This is just a heads up for a full review of the brand new Honor 10 which I’ll publish later in July but I wanted to give a quick, first impressions look at this very affordable “Flagship Killer”. With the official global launch of this handset held just two days away from the OnePlus 6 launch, it is clear Huawei and Honor are targetting the budget flagship space with the Honor 10 and just like the OnePlus 6 you get top tier components in an attractive yet affordable package. After a week of using it as a daily driver, what do I think?#Honor are targetting the budget flagship space with the #Honor10 and just like the OnePlus 6 you get top tier components in an attractive yet affordable package Click To Tweet
The way android is designed to mould itself to your usage means that the first few days of using a new phone are crucial while you set it up how you want it to work and Android learns how you use your phone and how to give you the best experience and battery life. This bedding in process means you will experience pretty terrible battery life and a hot handset for the first 4-5 days and that judging the device in any way is foolish until about a week has passed and everything has settled down. By day 7 of my test I think I got the phone I was expecting. It was super fast and a pleasure to use.By day 7 of my test and after tweaking it to my taste I think I got the phone I was expecting. The #Honor10 was super fast and a pleasure to use Click To Tweet
I was also fortunate as Honor Global wanted to ensure I got the latest Android 8.1 and EMUI 8.1 updates for this review so I am testing the Honor 10 at its absolute best. Honor are pushing the concept of “Beauty in AI” and reveal “two major ground-breaking and industry-leading smartphone technologies to consumers”.
The first is the advanced AI 2.0 technology, applied chiefly to the smartphone’s dual camera. Second is the Honor 10 CMF design, a 3D glass back with a very pleasing nano-scale optical coating composed of 15 layers of glimmering colour. The Honor 10 is now available from € 399.90 for purchase in select markets including UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, with other markets follow.
Confident in the new camera’s abilities Honor and Central St Martins recently celebrated the ground-breaking new AI & Photographic capabilities of the Honor 10 with the talented up and coming young designers graduating this year.@Honorglobal wanted to ensure I got the latest Android 8.1 and EMUI 8.1 updates for this review so I am testing #Honor10 at its absolute best Click To Tweet
Using the impressive new 24 Megapixel camera they celebrated how mobile technology will increasingly be integrated into education and design in the future, whether it be graphic communication, product, architecture, fashion or jewellery, exploring the future of aesthetics and how mobile technology will play a critical role in that development.
The #Honor10 handset itself is beautiful with a very cool layered, refractive glass back that shines and changes colours as it moves Click To Tweet
Battery life is a full day, which is still average but totally usable and not a negative in the current marketplace. EMUI 8.1 is fast, slick and fun to use and importantly the AI camera is very good. The only niggle is it defaults to AI mode every time you open it meaning you only get 16 megapixels of the available 24 and the AI monkeys with your shot whether you want it or not. Even flipping to non-AI mode defaults to 16 megapixels and you have to go into the setting to up it to 24, annoying. However, AI mode is very cool indeed for portraits and dog pics, with the background, subtly blurred for that shallow depth of field look that’s all the rage.
EMUI 8.1 on the #Honor10 is fast, slick and fun to use and importantly the AI camera is very good Click To Tweet
“We believe the recipe of success is simple – give consumers a really good product! That’s what we work hard for everyday at Honor,” said George Zhao, President of Honor. “But we don’t just stop at making a good product. We want to co-create a new lifestyle with young people worldwide. We listen to them, we bounce ideas around with them, and we cheer for them. They are our inspiration, and the reason we created the Honor 10, with its AI photography features and exquisite design.”
The handset itself is beautiful and the unique refractive glass back shines and changes colours as it moves. Another nice note is that a basic clear case is included in the box! Plus the handset came with a preinstalled screen protector, so no frustration and bubbles adding one yourself. Watch out for my full review in a week or two and with a bit of luck, we will have received the huge GPU Turbo update by then which promises to boost the graphical performance by up to 60%. How this will improve the phone’s Camera, AR and VR capabilities I don’t know, but much more on that next time!
— Honor UK (@UKHonor) 2 July 2018
Group Test – Aukey USB-C Adapters
Faster, smaller, better, thinner… Those design goals have led us here, to a new standard of connection port that I am still not sure anybody really wants. You probably know all about USB-C and its capabilities and if you own a new Mac of any kind you will be familiar with its drawbacks. USB-C adaptors and cables have made Apple a pretty penny but today Tech Trends is looking at the budget offerings from Chinese company Aukey, a four-port PCI-E card, two basic USB 3 to USB-C adapters and one braided USB-C to USB-C cable.
First off the Express PCI-E card, retailing at £28.99 provides 4 additional USB-C ports to your desktop computer and promises super-speed USB 3.0 data transmission speeds of up to 5 Gbps. Compatible with Windows 2000 / XP / 7 / 8 / 8.1 and Linux Kernel; USB3.0 can be backwards compatible ( USB 2.0 / 1.1 / 1.0 ) it is easy to install and Windows 10 found the driver itself with no problems.
Now the spec-heads out there will confuse you with the various standards and capabilities of USB-C hardware that mean a USB-C connection or cable might or might not give you true USB 3.1 speed, power transfer or even the much vaunted alternate mode, depending on the manufacturer, but basically as a consumer you expect new tech to be better, faster and easier to use. Sadly not the case here. I found the transfer speeds to be slower than USB 3, the power transfer to be less quick than with a dedicated charger and the ports themselves quite shallow, so cables easily dropped out of the connections.
The adapters and cable, on the other hand, were very useful. The well-made £7.69 male to male USB-C cable sports sturdy aluminium heads and a 2m flexible, braided length. It fast-charged a Galaxy S9+ and was blazingly fast (460Mbps) at transferring large files. Now we’re talking!
Of the two adapters on test, my favourite is the £8.49 USB C Male to USB A Female. Small and good looking it effortlessly bridged the gap between old and new USB standards, it was super quick and would easily fit in a pocket or on a keychain if it had a loop. Good simple design. The second £6.99 USB C male to USB A female adapter features a short extension but is less attractive black plastic. This would be more useful on the back of PCs than laptops but it was fast and really cheap. Apart from the disappointing PCI-E card all the USB-C peripherals from Aukey have been excellent, very affordable and are highly recommended.
Gloo Shared Charging Station
After a record-breaking crowdfunding success with $8M raised for the ZeTime hybrid smartwatch, design innovators MyKronoz has just hit Kickstarter again to launch the Deconnect Gloo – a sleek wireless charging station that doubles as an ambient light source. Sounds great but most interestingly Gloo is the first crowdfunding project that enables you to preview exactly how different versions of a new product will look in your own home, via a unique Augmented Reality feature within the companion Deconnect app for iOS. Read the full review here.Gloo is the first crowdfunding project that enables you to preview exactly how different versions of a new product will look in your own home, via a unique Augmented Reality feature within the companion Deconnect app for iOS Click To Tweet